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Thread: Tin + Lead vs. Tin + Lead + Antimony

  1. #1

    Tin + Lead vs. Tin + Lead + Antimony

    Hello!

    This is my first post and hopefully an easy question...

    Newbie alert: Very interested in casting my own boolits but to date my total number made is zero.

    I have lots of plumbers lead, a small amount of Wheel weights and 100 lbs of 63/37 bar solder.

    Been looking at the charts/curves for hardness of lead alloys and it seems that I can get the same hardness at least two different ways.
    One is Tin + Lead and another is Tin + Lead + Antimony.

    I don't have any antimony.

    What are the pros and cons to just using tin + lead for 9mm?

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Boolit Master NewbieDave007's Avatar
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    First, you do have Antimony in your WW.

    Second, look at the calulator in the link below.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...oy-calculators

    I haven't cast yet, so I'm not knowledgable to answer your question, but I think I remember reading somewhere that the tin won't bond with the lead or something without the Antimony. Either way you should read the another thing.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...or-Handgunners

    Hope that helps.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    If you are not looking for hot loads, a 20 to 1 mix might do pretty good.
    Two rubs about that.
    1. An auto loading pistol requires a certain velocity to cycle.
    2. A tin/lead alloy might start out hard enough but will age soften and in a couple years get really soft. That would be awesome for a big heavy slug on big game but probably won't work out so well in the 9mm.

    One way to get antimony is from clip on wheel weights that are not zinc or steel . Another more costly and reliable is to buy the 30% "superhard" from rotometals.com. The superhard is actually cheaper antimony than buying pure antimony and its already alloyed. You just need to cut it down to desired formula.

    Back to clip weights. They are about 3 percent antimony and you could cut 50/50 with lead and add 2% tin. Then you would have to drop then in water right out of the mold while still hot to harden them.

    Personally, I buy the stuff and cast a 2-6-92 tin/antimony/lead for a 15-16 bnh which for me works great in my 9mm
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by lwknight View Post
    If you are not looking for hot loads, a 20 to 1 mix might do pretty good.
    Two rubs about that.
    1. An auto loading pistol requires a certain velocity to cycle.
    2. A tin/lead alloy might start out hard enough but will age soften and in a couple years get really soft. That would be awesome for a big heavy slug on big game but probably won't work out so well in the 9mm.

    One way to get antimony is from clip on wheel weights that are not zinc or steel . Another more costly and reliable is to buy the 30% "superhard" from rotometals.com. The superhard is actually cheaper antimony than buying pure antimony and its already alloyed. You just need to cut it down to desired formula.

    Back to clip weights. They are about 3 percent antimony and you could cut 50/50 with lead and add 2% tin. Then you would have to drop then in water right out of the mold while still hot to harden them.

    Personally, I buy the stuff and cast a 2-6-92 tin/antimony/lead for a 15-16 bnh which for me works great in my 9mm
    While you may get the 20 to 1 mix to work, you may have some headaches along with it. 9mm can be a tough customer.

    I agree with lwknight... find some more WW's and water drop or go the Superhard route. The range scrap that that I use comes in right at 15 bhn, and with out adding any tin makes excellent boolits for my 9mm.

    Shad
    I believe in gold, silver, & lead, and the rights of free honest men... You can keep the "CHANGE"!

    Shad

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    2% tin added to lead will give you a BHN 8. 5% tin added will give you BHN 10. 10% tin added will give you BHN slightly less then 11. From 10% and higher added tin you stand the chance of tinning your barrel and you'll play heck getting it out.

    2% tin + 3% antimony + 95% lead will give you a BHN 14 which just so happens to be Clip On Wheel Weights ,COWW, with 2% tin added, a great all around casting alloy for general use. Use what your gun likes.

  6. #6
    Bulletsmith/Engineer


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    Unfortunately, with the 9mm harder really is better. You need the Antimony. Like jsizemore above, I use 2% tin + 3% antimony + 95% lead. That is pretty close to Clip On Wheel Weights with 2% tin. You can't do much better!

    My rule is 25:1 Lead/Tin = Hollow Point Handgun Bullets
    2, 3, 95 = All other Handgun Bullets
    Lyman #2 = Rifle Bullets (gas checked!)

    Those three alloys do it all for me!

  7. #7
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    i'd go the superhard route mix it to approximately ww alloy with the soft lead, then mix the two ww like alloys together.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

  8. #8
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    Surprised no one has suggested water dropping your bullets from the mold to aid in hardness.
    Give us this day our daily lead.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis.

    If you don't want 1984 you're going to need some 1776.
    WWGWD

  9. #9
    Thanks for the many responses, Great forum!

    I have heard before that 9mm is difficult to cast and am not surprised to hear many of you suggest adding antimony.

    Don't have enough wheel weights to get the % antimony needed so I will order $100 of super hard from roto to get the free shipping. Seems like more than I need right now though.
    Thanks for the links, that calculator is very cool and the 182 page instruction book will keep me busy for quite a while

  10. #10
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    The purpose of the tin is to ease the surface tension of the melt and make it flow better. This fills out the mold and gives the edges,
    lube grooves and crimping grooves sharper definition. Adding more than 2% tin overdoes it and more or less wastes it.
    Tin is not cheap so the less you use, the better you come out financially. Antimony, on the other hand, is very difficult to alloy since it
    melts at a much higher temp than either tin or lead. What it actually does is form a solution with the molten tin/lead, kinda like sugar
    and water. Wheel weights are not the easiest to deal with since they are not always consistent in composition. A good starting point is
    about 95% clean WW's (by weight), 2% tin and 3% antimony. This should get you where you need to be. Make small batches until you
    find how you need to mix it so you dont tie up needless material. Once you have found a recipe, go to it. Adjust your alloy by varying the
    amounts of lead or antimony. Tin does not add appreciable hardness, antimony does.

    Jerry
    Carolina Cast Bullets
    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional ! ! !

  11. #11
    Boolit Master sthwestvictoria's Avatar
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    These two tables are from the Lyman Cast handbook 3rd Ed:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    However I just use the COWW with 2%tin as above posters suggest, air cooled for 30-30 or oven heat treated then quenched for 35whelen.
    Last edited by sthwestvictoria; 09-21-2013 at 05:46 AM.
    ars longa, vita brevis

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    That recipe is old school. It assumes that wheel weights are 6% antimony.
    These days 3% is the best you will find and will never make #2 or hardball from that
    unless you add some more antimony somehow.
    Last edited by lwknight; 09-20-2013 at 05:33 PM.
    Sent from my PC with a keyboard and camera on it with internet too.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    skip the ww totally try and get absolute known products when trying to produce an alloy if you don't your just guessing
    in lieu of ww try and find isotope lead a form of clean ww not exact mind you but closer quantities in the alloy
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolina Cast Bullets View Post


    The purpose of the tin is to ease the surface tension of the melt and make it flow better. This fills out the mold and gives the edges,
    lube grooves and crimping grooves sharper definition. Adding more than 2% tin overdoes it and more or less wastes it.
    Tin is not cheap so the less you use, the better you come out financially. Antimony, on the other hand, is very difficult to alloy since it
    melts at a much higher temp than either tin or lead. What it actually does is form a solution with the molten tin/lead, kinda like sugar
    and water. Wheel weights are not the easiest to deal with since they are not always consistent in composition. A good starting point is
    about 95% clean WW's (by weight), 2% tin and 3% antimony. This should get you where you need to be. Make small batches until you
    find how you need to mix it so you dont tie up needless material. Once you have found a recipe, go to it. Adjust your alloy by varying the
    amounts of lead or antimony. Tin does not add appreciable hardness, antimony does.

    Jerry
    Carolina Cast Bullets
    What do you do when you can't get wheel weights and you have only almost pure lead?

    Aloha...

  15. #15
    Boolit Master RobsTV's Avatar
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    Seems strange to see the term WW so loosely thrown around as if WW means COWW as a general rule. The above posters are correct when they specifically mention COWW for WW with desired antimony. But, about half the WW I get are SOWW.

    So just in case there is any confusion, SOWW do not have any antimony and are closer to pure lead.

    You have 10 tons of WW and still not have any antimony to speak of. Sorry to be anal but please try to differentiate when discussing WW's.
    Last edited by RobsTV; 09-21-2013 at 05:41 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    "What do you do when you can't get wheel weights and you have only almost pure lead?"

    "Skip the ww totally try and get absolute known products when trying to produce an alloy if you don't your just guessing"

    I use "Magnum shot" at $2.00 per pound delivered which is 5% antimony and probably has some arsinic. Another option is Missouri Bullets "Hardball" 96/2/6 which is around $2.32 per pound delivered. The Magnum Shot would be good for the OP, as he has tin. Either way mix 50/50 with soft lead and add tin to get to 2%.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Trey45 View Post
    Surprised no one has suggested water dropping your bullets from the mold to aid in hardness.
    The OP only has a small amount of COWW's, therefore not enough antimony for water dropping to do any good. More antimony is needed.

    Shad
    I believe in gold, silver, & lead, and the rights of free honest men... You can keep the "CHANGE"!

    Shad

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    So, you are a newbie. That is expected with no experience. I could give advice on alloys, ratios, etc, but, I am only going to suggest that you get the Lyman Cast Boolit Handbook #3, and read it, especially the section on lead and its alloys. I have looked at the #4 handbook, but prefer the #3. I find it clearer. There is a lot of info there, it is well laid out, and can help you. Get one, read it, and then come back and ask questions if you are confused. We'll try to further that.

  19. #19
    The Brass Man Four-Sixty's Avatar
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    Don't forget "From Ingot to Target"... I believe chapter 3 has some wonderful (and free) info on alloys.
    “Useful undertakings which require sustained attention and vigorous precision in order to succeed often end up by being abandoned, for, in America, as elsewhere, the people move forward by sudden impulses and short-lived efforts.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

    The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It's called denial.

    "Inferno" Dan Brown

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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